From left: Face, B.A. Baracus, Murdock and Hannibal.
There is no Plan B.
The film adaptation of The A-Team series, released in 2010. Follows the Rag Tag Bunch Of Misfits from their roots when they come together pulling off a mission against a drug lord in Mexico. They become a legendary "crack commando team" running operations that regular military teams can't do. Col. Hannibal Smith is the leader, the Man with the Plan. Face is the charmer, point man and has been with Hannibal longer than the rest. B.A. Barracus is the machine savvybruiser of the team. And "Howling Mad" Murdock is their (possibly insane) Ace Pilot.Eight years, and "80 successful missions", later, a complicated series of events put them in a very delicate operation to recover U.S. minting plates and several million dollars printed by them. Upon a successful completion, their commanding officer General Morrison is killed by a car bomb and the plates stolen, along with the money being torched.Because of how classified the mission was, Morrison was the only one who could verify their story and they effectively look like bank robbers and conspirators with a rival mercenary group. They are charged with war crimes, stripped of their rank and sent to prison. But even that isn't enough to stop them, as six months later they break out of prison with the help of a CIA operative and set out to clear their name. This involves tracking down the location of the plates, the PMC leader Pike who framed them, plenty of collateral damage and the A-Team Montage.
Contains the following tropes:
3-D Movie: Murdock gets to watch one, along with the other inhabitants of the psych ward he's in. That 3D is really damn realistic, what with the Humvee smashing through the wall and dragging in Murdock. The 3-D glasses also make it look like they're really being shot at.
Action Prologue - Also explains how the A-Team comes together, detailing Hannibal recruiting BA and Murdock to rescue Face.
Actor Allusion: There are a couple of nods to Sharlto Copley's South African nationality. Observable when Murdock's blabbering in a South African accent early in the film to get past journalists. He also speaks Swahili at one point. It also alludes to his role in District 9.
There's the part where Hannibal lures Lynch into a trap in a container, reminiscent of Batman Begins where Ras also compares fighting styles they're both using on each other.
The "3D" film at a psychiatric hospital plays the show's theme tune, and one of the names of its opening credits read "Reginald Barclay" — referencing Dwight Shultz's role as Lt. Barclay in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Other names in the credits include G. F. Starbuck, a veiled reference to Dirk Benedict's Starbuck from Battlestar Galactica, and two more not clearly seen but confirmed by Wordof God — Thomas Banacek (for George Peppard) and Clubber Lang (for Mr. T).
Less elaborate than the above, but when the team had to travel through customs disguised in hilarious ethnic gear, Hannibal basically went through as... Liam Neeson.
Adaptational Villainy: Lynch. In the series he was more of a Hero Antagonist. He was a good soldier who honestly believed that the A-Team were dangerous criminals who needed to be stopped. In the movie he's a Dirty Cop and a true villain.
Affably Evil: Lynch, a friendly joking man who could have easily been a good member of the A-Team... if not for the whole "backstab you for some money" deal and his overwhelming sense of entitlement.
There appear to be a couple of subtle occasions throughout the show that serve to differentiate between professionals (though not necessarily the good guys, i.e. Brock Pike and General Morrison) and most of the bad guys (who tend to speak in stereotypical terms): Face's "administrator" and "operator" analogy v.s. Lynch's "High-speed, shoot-to-kill" statement, "suppressor" v.s. "silencer", among others.
Arch-Enemy: Did anyone else get this vibe between B.A. and Pike?
A Real Man Is a Killer: Lynch's incompetence is very much connected to his lack of experience in the field, and B.A.'s character arc is only complete when he kills again.
Though in the case of the latter, it's less that he can't be a real man without killing, and more that it would be rather difficult for him to be a soldier. None of the others ever question his manhood, nor his valor or dedication.
A-Team Firing: While there is still a lot of gunfire, many people - random mook soldiers and main characters alike - actually do get shot. Since this A-Team actually shoots to kill it isn't as extreme an example of the original Trope Namer.
Played with within the movie itself. B.A. becomes a pacifist and refuses to shoot to kill during part of the movie (perhaps a Shout-Out to the trope), and one of the things the A-Team prides themselves on is getting things done with minimal casualties (note minimal, not none); that is in contrast to the trigger-happy Pike.
And then Justified with Pike during the Germany scene. Pike's eyes are watering from having just been flashbanged and he is firing a stockless rifle fully automatically.
A-Team Montage: You knew this had to happen... and since the movie's a little over two hours, we get two of them, and two others are a blend of planning and executing the plan instead of a straight montage.
Attack Drone: The Reaper UAVs that our heroes have to fight in German airspace.
Dirk Benedict and Dwight Schultz (Face and Murdock in the original series) shot cameos that alluded to their time in the roles. They served as The Stinger in the theatrical version, however the Extended Cut placed them into the film.
Car Fu - In the first plot to steal the plates, later used by Hannibal to save Pacifist Baracus from shooting Pike.
Car Meets House: When the team breaks Murdock out of the military hospital in Germany.
The Chessmaster: To Hannibal, being a mere one step ahead of your enemy is an Indy Ploy. If you're at least three steps ahead, then you've got a plan. Made more awesome by the fact that he often only needs as much time to come up with a plan as others would an Indy Ploy.
Having a rocket launcher changes things, though.
That was Face's plan, anyway.
Note that his plans still can and at times do go wrong, for example the seaport scene, where the team only avoided having to fight their way through the security due to Murdock and B.A.'s unspoken understanding of foreign cultures- they are to disguise themselves as a rabbi and a Tanzanian citizen, respectively, but manage to assume each others' "identities" convincingly when it turns out that Face gave them the wrong passports. Even Hannibal comments afterward, "There is a God".
Chivalrous Pervert: Face. There are several hints suggesting that Face does do genuine favors when possible.
CIA Evil, FBI Good: There's no FBI, but there's definitely an evil CIA. There is the DOD good, however, with Lt. Sosa's Army CID team trying to find the A-Team and stay ahead (or at least abreast) with Mr. Lynch's CIA team.
Clear My Name: The main reason for the A-Team to take up the job offer.
Cloud Cuckoolander: Murdock provides some REALLY wonderful commentary in just about every situation.
Furthermore, once Lynch shoots Murdoch disguised as Morrison, the seemingly-defeated Hannibal proceeds to get right up and layeth a smacketh down upon Lynch, who'd previously defeated Hannibal in hand-to-hand, though that was All According to Plan.
Curse Cut Short: "AMF" or "Alpha Mike Foxtrot", which is short for "Adios, mother-"
Cutting the Knot: Face develops an elaborate plan that uses cargo containers as a giant-sized shell game. This works fine until Pike decides "screw this!" and knocks over all the containers!
Enhance Button: Although it is not shown exactly how he enhanced it, Hannibal has a surveillance photo of Pike in much higher definition than Lynch. Also invoked later when Sosa could reconstruct Lynch's face from a jammed CCTV footage, albeit after a substantial wait. The photo was hardly pristine, either; Lynch's face is clear enough, but it's still grainy and the colors are way off.
Evil Counterpart: Pike is this to Hannibal; both leaders of a team, but while Hannibal loves the Batman Gambit and cares about his men and his honor, Pike has no loyalty to his men, is easily willing to turn to his trigger finger for solutions, and only cares about himself in the end.
If you pay attention to his arrogance, his penchant for ogling women, and his generally empty charm, Lynch may be this for Face. At the end, it's even revealed that Lynch is an agent, but also technically a Con Man, like Face. But unlike Face, his Evil Plan cohorts want to cut him out (since the rogue CIA agent has no intent whatsoever to reward them for their work) and women don't really want anything to do with him.
Exact Words: Hannibal in Iraq. "B.A., for the last time, nobody leaves the truck once we take it over."
Expy: The Black Forest private military corporation is an obvious analogue of the infamous Blackwater PMC.
Face Death with Dignity: Brock Pike, a self-serving and treacherous psychopath as he might be, faces death while maintaining his composure when he thinks it to be inevitable. See the Juggling Loaded Guns entry for details. He doesn't know that events would eventually conspire to give him a second chance.
Fast Roping: Hannibal does this one-handed from the 30th floor of a building while shooting with the other hand. Baracus, on the other hand, drops from a flying fox right onto the top of a speeding truck.
Flipping the Bird: In an Ironic Echo, done by Lynch's assistant (who is constantly irritated at Lynch's stupid entendres), and then done to the A-Team when Lynch is caught (who is constantly irritated at... duhhhhhhhhhhh)
Gambit Pileup: The team was double-crossed by Pike and and his team who were backed by Lynch AND Gen. Morrison. Then Morrison double-crosses Lynch and splits with Pike. We find out later that Morrison merely beat Lynch to the punch. All of this is on top of Hannibal and Face's antics.
Gambit Roulette: Many of Hannibal's plans rely on precise timing and chance, and they are all vulnerable to someone taking out a grenade launcher.
Genre Savvy: Sosa is this compared to her incredibly Genre Blind lackeys, to the point where she tells them to assume that the A-Team knows more than they do at all times.
Lynch is just Genre Savvy enough to know that he can disrupt whatever plan the team has in the climax by having the Dangerously Genre Savvy Pike on his side. Not enough to actually listen to him all the time, however.
High-Altitude Battle: Do we have to tell you? Okay, tank vs reaper drones in mid air. That's right, a falling tank that is shot out of a cargo plane shooting down reaper drones in mid air.
Hoist by His Own Petard: Lynch orchestrated the team's prison break, expecting them to do his dirty work. But he severely underestimated the resourcefulness of the A Team, especially the fact that Hannibal is always one step ahead of everyone else tactically.
Important Haircut: Played with. While in prison, B.A. let his hair grow out to distance himself from his past. When broken out of prison he was given clippers by Face specifically so he could return to the mohawk, but he decided on just a close buzz cut just because of his new outlook. Just before the final mission, and after a talk with Hannibal on fighting for your faith, he cuts it back to the mohawk.
Insignia Rip-Off Ritual: When the A-Team is sentenced for undertaking an operation that since Gen. Morrison is pretending to be dead, nobody can confirm wasn't a wildcat job.
Ironic Fear: After his first experience with Murdock's piloting skills, B.A. was so scared he could not stand flying anymore, despite being in a occupation where jumping from a plane was an occasional must. He was not happy about it.
It Has Been an Honor: Murdock says this while Hannibal is attempting to fly the tank. B.A. chimes in with a far less dignified "I'm too young to die!"
Juggling Loaded Guns: Shown when two CIA agents attempt to off Pike. Pike is extremely annoyed at the attempt of the first agent sitting to his left to shoot him in a moving car... or screw a suppressor on... or aim it correctly. Pike begs Lynch not to let this agent shoot him because that'd just be embarrassing and, when his plea goes unanswered, overpowers the agent and hands the gun to another one sitting to his right. To Pike's disappointment, however, that second agent then proceeds to answer a phone call while simultaneously pressing the gun to his other ear. At that point even Lynch finds the agents' lack of firearm discipline upsetting.
Large Ham: Liam Neeson gets in a few moments of this, as do B.A. and Murdock.
Ladykiller in Love: Face was this when he was still with Sosa. Unlike most examples of the trope, he's actually pretty accepting of the fact, and it's his love interest who had a problem with it:
"You heard I was a player and you wanted to play. And then I got serious and you freaked! You panicked... and you ran."
Legacy Character/No Name Given: The CIA agent is only referred to as "Mr. Lynch", an obvious pseudonym commonly used by the CIA. Other characters joke about this by asking Mr. Lynch if he's related to the other Lynches they met in the past. Also qualifies as a Mythology Gag, the Army Colonel chasing the A Team in the original series was named Lynch.
Sosa: Gilbert, you've either deliberately aided and abetted a federal fugitive's escape, or you're the single dumbest human being I've ever come into contact with. Would you like to know which way I'm leaning? Gilbert:Forward!
Missing Trailer Scene: Along with Hannibal's line being different in the movie, a scene in an ad where Face says to B.A., "I'm sorry, I can't quit looking at your hair", and B.A saying, "I'm B.A., you're about to be unconscious." aren't used. In addition, B.A. whistles the classic A-Team theme tune in the trailer, while in the movie, he hums tunelessly.
Hannibal's use of a select-fire Ruger Mini-14 with folding stock while rescuing Face in Mexico.
The original theme tune is used in the "3D film". (It's actually the Silva Screen (British record label) recording of the original theme tune, as revealed in the end credits.)
Agent Lynch is probably a reference to Colonel Lynch, the army officer that chased the A-Team in the first season of the series. Fittingly, Lynch ends up being after the A-Team towards the end of the film.
Noodle Incident: The team makes numerous references to past missions, seeing as how they have 8 years and 80 missions worth of material.
Still wondering what the hell went on in Venezuela.
Or why Face was so beat up in that first scene in Iraq, he had multiple bandages and an IV in one arm.
Also prior to meeting the rest of the team, B.A. had been dishonorably discharged for "some bullshit".
In the original series BA had punched out a high-ranking officer in Vietnam who the A Team later had to rescue. This is another Mythology Gag.
Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Sharlto Copley does a fairly admirable job of holding his vaguely Southern accent, but he tends to switch around accents a lot. It does work for the character, though, seeing as he is insane and an omniglot, and a lot of the more noticeable ones ("Oh you gorgeous rustbucket, did you miss your daddy!") were on purpose.
Yeah, that's just what Murdock does. Dwight Schultz did it all the time in the original show.
Liam Neeson has a few moments of this as well, mostly when he's saying anything with an "oo" sound, like "you."
Origins Episode: The Action Prologue shows how the team was first formed, and the main plot shows how they became the vigilantes they were in the original series.
Product Placement: Everyone seems to be driving Mercedes-Benz cars. There's also Sosa's Dell computer, which is exactly the utilitarian model you'd get saddled with on a government budget. Fridge Brilliance concerning the cars: They're in Germany!
Utterly lampooned in the official spoof trailer by Orange, in which even the cast ends up complaining about how much it's wrecking the movie ("I love it when a... talk plan comes together!").
Psychopathic Man Child: Lynch is a mild type C; his loose attitude makes him come off like he's a 16 year old with the CIA's car keys. He leers at his hot assistant, brags about the CIA's rules being cooler than DoD's, and gets really excited about "awesome" combat incidents, which he compares to video games (see Shout-Out below).
Agent Daly: Zulu 1, Zulu 1, this is Broadsword. You are clear to engage.
Lynch: Broadsword, did you come up with that? That's awesome. 'Broadsword.' 'Broadsword.'
B.A. Baracus: (reading from a book) "Victory attained by violence is tantamount to a defeat, for it is momentary." Hannibal Smith: Gandhi. (beat) "It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence." B.A.: Who said that? Hannibal: Same guy. Gandhi wasn't afraid to fight for what he believed in.
Reality Ensues: The Team catches Lynch and clears their names, and are promptly arrested for breaking out of prison.
This movie gives an entirely plausible reason for B.A.'s fear of flying and why he hates Murdock so much... Murdock's piloting.
Run for the Border: A clever inversion of this trope. In the film's beginning, the team runs from Mexico to America in a helicopter while being pursued by General Javier Tuco. Upon crossing the border, Tuco's own chopper is blown up for engaging in combat with American soldiers on American soil.
And all of that went according to his plan made after Face botched the previous one by getting caught in bed with Tuco's wife.
Sanity Slippage: Inverted. Murdock thinks he might have gone sane as a result of Face's plan.
Scars Are Forever: B.A. sports a scar on his right arm from where Hannibal shot him when they first met. It might have healed better if Murdock hadn't stitched it up with a lightning bolt stitch pattern.
Shoot the Rope: Hannibal does this in the opening to free Face from a noose. He also shoots the wire on Pike's handcuffs to steal the plates from him.
Shout-Out: The film ends with the opening narration used in the TV series.
While looking at AC-130 camera footage, Lynch exclaims "It's just like Call of Duty!" Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare featured a section where the player controls the weapons on an AC-130U "Spooky" gunship. The audience sees only a glimpse of what the antagonist is seeing, but it does indeed resemble that section. Also noting that the Gunship's call sign is Broadsword.
Even better - it also directly references the MW2 AC-130 perk, since the AC-130's turrets are controlled from a laptop, as it is here.
When the 3D movie "The Greater Escape" plays in the nuthouse, one of the names listed is Reginald Barkley. This is a reference to a character played by Dwight Shultz in Star Trek: The Next Generation. He also played H.M. Murdoch in the original A-Team TV Series.
Also partial obscured names could also be references, but the full name could be a reference to other roles the original actors played. We can see Thomas (obscured last name. This could be Thomas Banacek played by George Peppard. Also seen is G.F. Star(obscured). This might be Starbuck played by Dirk Benedict.
Shown Their Work: The "tank" is, in fact, an M8 Buford mobile gun. Of which six were made before the project was canceled in 1997. It really is designed to be air-dropped.
The subversion is that the Buford in the movie is equipped with Level III armor package, which in reality would have made the tank too heavy to be carried by the Hercules, let alone being air-dropped from it at high altitude. Technically the air-droppable baseline Level I can already protect it from machine gun fire of the Reaper drones, however.
Though Hannibal is the one to fly the tank, not Murdock.
Unfolding Plan Montage: Used twice: First in the raid to capture the plates convoy at the beginning, then the "misdirection" assault on Los Angeles Harbor at the end. Both also include A-Team Montages of the team gathering equipment.
Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Subverted in the movie using the "Sherlock Holmes method", where plot-wise the plan is going on at the exact same time as its being detailed, while in-universe it isn't the case. Later played straight when Hannibal calls Sosa to make arrangements on bringing the plates and Morrison to her, knowing that Lynch is most likely listening in. Face then calls Sosa right afterwards. While we aren't privy to the conversation, its fairly obvious that they're letting Sosa in on the real plan.
Viewers Are Goldfish: The movie repeatedly shows the audience flashbacks of things that happened just earlier.
Violence is the Only Option: Subverted in the passport scene, where both Murdock and B. A. are able to talk themselves out of a sticky situation.